The Best Way To Preserve Whole Fresh Pumpkin

During the beloved season of autumn, corn is husked, apples are plucked from trees, and pumpkins are snatched from their fields as families prepare not only for Halloween, but also for the Thanksgiving holiday, which is sure to be met with plenty of pumpkin pie. 

The sweet pumpkin, distinct in both flavor and color, makes its way into every drink (think Starbucks' Pumpkin Frappuccino and Dunkin' Donuts' Pumpkin Latte), bake, and squash-based meal imaginable, and for good reason. With its natural sugars acting as a sweetener, and the fiber from its flesh, the pumpkin makes for a nutritious addition to your cold-weather diet and will help to boost your immune system during flu season (via Healthline). 

The best way to ensure the pumpkins you're eating are the best and ripest is by going out and picking them yourself. But before you go out and harvest, you should brush up on how to care for your pumpkins once you have them.

Keep your pumpkins alive longer

When it comes to storing your whole pumpkins fresh, you must consider your surroundings. Pumpkins remain fresher longer when they are kept in cool and dry rooms out of the sunlight (via Today). If you have a cellar or shed that stays cool, store your pumpkins in there. But you must be wary of extreme temperatures in general — you don't want your pumpkins freezing either. According to Michigan State University, a whole pumpkin can easily be kept fresh and ready to eat if stored between 45 degrees Fahrenheit and 55 degrees Fahrenheit for up to three months. And, like with most produce, it recommends keeping your pumpkins away from moisture because it will produce mold and other bacterial growth.

Another way to maximize the shelf life of your pumpkins is by keeping your hands to yourself. Better Homes & Gardens advises that you should minimize how much you touch your fruit as the natural oils in our skin encourages the rotting process to happen more quickly. But that does not mean that you should pick your pumpkin up from the stem. If the stem of your pumpkin breaks, your pumpkin's life becomes a whole lot shorter. Simply pick your pumpkin, rinse it clean under cool water then towel dry it and store it away. Ideally, you shouldn't touch the pumpkin again until it's time to use.